ITV weather Ruth Dodsworth was abused by controlling ex in Wales | UK | News

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Ruth Dodsworth

Ruth Dodsworth suffered a life of hell at the hands of her ex, Jonathan Wignall (Image: South Wales Police / Wales Online)

Jonathan Wignall, 54, left Ruth Dodsworth “nervous, frightened, and broken” after controlling every aspect of her life. His callous behaviour lasted nine years, during which he frequently attended the studios where she was filming and on location, and accessed her phone messages and mail. The creep was jailed yesterday for three years, reports Wales Online.

A court heard Wignall also prevented Ms Dodworth, 45, from socialising with friends and family, threatened his suicide, and even had a tracker fitted to her car.

The controlling behaviour had a “devastating impact” on the victim and even affected her career as a presenter with ITV Wales.

Reading out her victim personal statement at Cardiff Crown Court, Ms Dodsworth said: “I look over my marriage to Jonathan and I feel I have been robbed of what was meant to be the happiest times of my life. The birth of our children, family gatherings, achievements in my career, and associations with friends have been tainted.

“I have lived my life feeling nervous, frightened, and broken. Life with Jonathan was like walking on eggshells. His temper would turn in an instant. He was frighteningly unpredictable and extremely volatile. His regular alcohol abuse caused him to be verbally abusive and physically violent towards me. He became bitter and hostile to me over the years and his frequent outbursts of hatred to us all was exhausting.”

Ruth Dodsworth

Wignall controlled the weather presenter for years (Image: Media Wales)

I have lived my life feeling nervous, frightened, and broken. Life with Jonathan was like walking on eggshells. His temper would turn in an instant. He was frighteningly unpredictable and extremely volatile.

Ruth Dodsworth

The mother added: “Jonathan made me entirely dependent on him. The atmosphere of fear at our so-called home – a place we should have felt safe, secure and loved. Home was often the last place I wanted to be. There was barely a day I did not leave for work in tears and arrive back fearful of what was waiting for me.

“He was an incredibly jealous and possessive husband from early on. I could not speak to men without accusations of being unfaithful.

“He was totally obsessed with my phone and asked where it was at all times of the day. He would delete contacts he was paranoid of. If I left my work laptop at home I would get emails saying someone was trying to access it. This was Jonathan trying to check up on me.”

Wignall was arrested on October 18, 2019, after Ms Dodsworth did not return to the family home in Cowbridge, south Wales, for fears of her safety. During that point, he rang her more than 150 times during the day.

Upon being told he was being arrested for harassment the defendant replied: “Harassment? But she’s my wife.”

Jonathan Wignall

Wignall, 54, was jailed for controlling and coercive behaviour (Image: South Wales Police)

Ruth Dodsworth and Jonathan Wignall pictured together at an event

Ruth Dodsworth and Jonathan Wignall pictured together at an event (Image: John Corbett)

Wignall admitted charges of coercive and controlling behaviour and stalking on the first day of his trial.

The couple married in 2001 but the relationship began to deteriorate in 2010.

The court heard the husband often showed up at ITV Wales’ studios and on location at places across the country.

Claire Pickthall, prosecuting, said the defendant was also physically abusive on occasions after slapping Ms Dodsworth’s head to prevent her from falling asleep and pushed her on two occasions, once causing her to suffer fractured ribs.

Wignall would open her mail, would stand outside the bathroom as she used the facilities, and would accompany her to doctors appointments.

Between September and October 2019, matters escalated when she was taking part in a charity trek across Iceland and he refused to let her travel to Luton Airport with the rest of the group and drove her to the airport.

Ruth Dodsworth and Jonathan Wignall wedding

The couple tied the knot in 2001 (Image: Glenn Edwards)

Following his arrest Wignall’s bail conditions prevented him from contacting Ms Dodsworth but he pestered a family friend, asking them if her feelings towards him had changed.

On one occasion when it was arranged for the defendant and Ms Dodsworth to swap cars Wignall left a CD in her car which contained a reading from a psychic who said the couple would get back together.

There was a suspicion the defendant had put a tracker on the car and he denied this but Ms Dodsworth was driving when she saw Wignall driving in the opposite direction for no apparent reason.

She took the car to a garage where staff confirmed a tracker device had been installed under the steering wheel.

Wignall was arrested and police found an app on his phone linked to the tracking device which the defendant had accessed 250 times between November 25 and December 13, 2019. He had also set alarms for when Ms Dodsworth was due to be presenting the weather on television.

Ruth Dodsworth and Jonathan Wignall

Ms Dodsworth told of her harrowing ordeal (Image: Media Wales)

Upon being arrested he took offence to officers referring to Ms Dodsworth as his ex-wife and said: “She’s definitely not my ex. Stop calling her my ex.”

Ms Dodsworth also spoke about how Wignall’s control and harassment had affected her career.

She said: “I have had to try and portray a happy, sunshine-like personality every day when I felt anything but. He had a negative impact on my working life and relationships. There were times when I have been unable to keep it together and people have asked me if I am all right.

“Jonathan was phoning the office hundreds of times a day and would turn up to the office and other locations I was working and interfered with my plans.

“I can imagine I was pitied by the people I worked with and through no fault of their own it left me feeling embarrassed and degraded. At times I had to leave work shortly before broadcast and he affected my confidence and work.

“My physical health suffered terribly due to the abuse. My weight dropped to seven stone, my hair fell out, and I was unable to sleep. My daily life became exhausting living in a constant state of anxiety and fear.”

Ruth Dodsworth

Ms Dodsworth presents the weather for ITV (Image: ITV)

Ms Dodsworth also talked about the financial state her husband had left her in after controlling their joint finances and leaving the ITV presenter with large debts.

She said: “I had to ask for money just to buy lunch at work. He would always deal in cash and I had no idea of the debt we were in. He hid it from me. He would always say that something was around the corner and promise deals worth millions of pounds but he was a liar and a fantasist. I had to get a second job to pay the bills and was frequently working more than 12 hours a day.

“The week after he was arrested it came to light we were going to be evicted out of our home. I had no idea he had failed to pay rent, bills, and council tax. This was devastating to find out and has upset myself and my family. Jonathan’s mishandling of my finances has left me with heavy debts I have no prospect of resolving without sacrifice.

“This is distressing for me because I have worked extremely hard and I can’t provide a comfortable life for my children. We have no prospect of being free of these debts and I have no real prospect of buying a house for me or my children.”

In mitigation, barrister Dyfed Thomas said his client was previously a successful businessman and had set up the Escape into the Park festival in Singleton Park, Swansea, but his business collapsed.

Mr Thomas said that failure may have affected his behaviour towards Ms Dodsworth, which he now “certainly regrets”.

Sentencing, Judge Daniel Williams said: “It’s clear you have no remorse for that which you did. You seek to justify your actions and in your eyes you have done no wrong and you have no perception to how others may see you.

“You affect the air of a respectable beleaguered but successful businessman but you are not. You are a fantasist with a fragile ego which makes you an unrepentant possessive bully.”





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